The Apartment
125 Pages
English
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The Apartment

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Downloading requires you to have access to the YouScribe library
Learn all about the services we offer
125 Pages
English

Description

A.L. Diamond

Subjects

Informations

Published by
Published 01 January 1960
Reads 4
Language English

Exrait

THE APARTMENT

by

Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond

THE APARTMENT

A DESK COMPUTER

A man's hand is punching out a series of figures on the keyboard.

BUD (V.O.)

On November first, 1959, the population of New York City was 8,042,783.if you laid all these people end to end, figuring an average height of five feet six and a half inches, they would reach from Times Square to the outskirts of Karachi, Pakistan.I know facts like this because I work for an insurance company --

THE INSURANCE BUILDING - A WET, FALL DAY

It's a big mother, covering a square block in lower Manhattan, all glass and aluminum, jutting into the leaden sky.

BUD (V.O.)

-- Consolidated Life of New York. We are one of the top five companies in the country -- last year we wrote nine-point-three billion dollars worth of policies.Our home office has 31,259 employees -- which is more than the entire population of Natchez, Mississippi, of Gallup, New Mexico.

INT. NINETEENTH FLOOR

Acres of gray steel desk, gray steel filing cabinets, and steel-gray faces under indirect light.One wall is lined with glass-enclosed cubicles for the supervisory personnel. It is all very neat, antiseptic, impersonal.The only human tough is supplied by a bank of IBM machines, clacking away cheerfully in the background.

BUD (V.O.)

I work on the nineteenth floor -- Ordinary Policy Department - Premium Accounting Division - Section W -- desk number 861. DESK 861

Like every other desk, it has a small name plate attached to the side.This one reads C.C. BAXTER.

BUD (V.O.)

My name is C.C. Baxter - C. for Calvin, C. for Clifford -- however, most people call me Bud. I've been with Consolidated Life for three years and ten months.I started in the branch office in Cincinnati, then transferred to New York.My take-home pay is $94.70 a week, and there are the usual fringe benefits.

BAXTER is about thirty, serious, hard-working, unobtrusive. He wears a Brooks Brothers type suit, which he bought somewhere on Seventh Avenue, upstairs.There is a stack of perforated premium cards in front of him, and he is totaling them on the computing machine.He looks off.

ELECTRIC WALL CLOCK

It shows 5:19.With a click, the minute hand jumps to 5:20, and a piercing bell goes off.

BUD (V.O.)

The hours in our department are 8:50 to 5:20 --

FULL SHOT - OFFICE

Instantly all work stops.Papers are being put away, typewriters and computing machines are covered, and everybody starts clearing out.Within ten seconds, the place is empty -- except for Bud Baxter, still bent over his work, marooned in a sea of abandoned desks.

BUD (V.O.)

-- they're staggered by floors, so that sixteen elevators can handle the 31,259 employees without a serious traffic jam.As for myself, I very often stay on at the office and work for an extra hour or two -- especially when the weather is bad.It's not that I'm overly ambitious -- it's just a way of killing time, until it's all right for me to go home. You see, I have this little problem with my apartment --

DISSOLVE TO:

STREET IN THE WEST SIXTIES - EVENING

Bud, wearing a weather-beaten Ivy League raincoat and a narrow-brimmed brown hat, comes walking slowly down the street skirting the puddles on the sidewalk.He stops in front of a converted brownstone, looks up.

BUD (V.O.)

I live in the West Sixties - just half a block from Central Park.My rent is $84 a month.It used to be eighty until last July when Mrs. Lieberman, the landlady, put in a second-hand air conditioning unit.

The windows on the second floor are lit, but the shades are drawn.From inside drifts the sound of cha cha music.

BUD (V.O.)

It's a real nice apartment - nothing fancy -- but kind of cozy -- just right for a bachelor. The only problem is - I can't always get in when I want to.

INT. THE APARTMENT - EVENING

What used to be the upstairs parlor of a one-family house in the early 1900's has been chopped up into living room, bedroom, bathroom and kitchen.The wallpaper is faded, the carpets are threadbare, and the upholstered furniture could stand shampooing.There are lots of books, a record player, stacks of records, a television set (21 inches and 24 payments), unframed prints from the Museum of Modern Art (Picasso, Braque, Klee) tacked up on the walls.

Only one lamp is lit, for mood, and a cha cha record is spinning around on the phonograph.On the coffee table in front of the couch are a couple of cocktail glasses, a pitcher with some martini dregs, an almost empty bottle of vodka, a soup bowl with a few melting ice cubes at the bottom, some potato chips, an ashtray filled with cigar stubs and lipstick-stained cigarette butts, and a woman's handbag.

MR. KIRKEBY, a dapper, middle-aged man, stands in front of the mirror above the fake fireplace, buttoning up his vest. He does not notice that the buttons are out of alignment.

KIRKEBY

(calling off)

Come on, Sylvia.It's getting late.

SYLVIA, a first baseman of a dame, redheaded and saftig, comes cha cha-ing into the room, trying to fasten a necklace as she hums along with the music.She dances amorously up to Kirkeby.

KIRKEBY

Cut it out, Sylvia.We got to get out of here.

He helps her with the necklace, then turns off the phonograph.

SYLVIA

What's the panic?I'm going to have another martooni.

She crosses to the coffee table, starts to pour the remnants of the vodka into the pitcher.

KIRKEBY

Please, Sylvia!It's a quarter to nine!

SYLVIA

(dropping slivers of ice into the pitcher) First you can't wait to get me up here, and now -- rush, rush, rush! Makes a person feel cheap.

KIRKEBY

Sylvia -- sweetie -- it's not that -- but I promised the guy I'd be out of here by eight o'clock, positively.

SYLVIA

(pouring martini)

What guy?Whose apartment is this, anyway?

KIRKEBY

(exasperated)

What's the difference?Some schnook that works in the office.

EXT. BROWNSTONE HOUSE - EVENING

Bud is pacing back and forth, throwing an occasional glance at the lit windows of his apartment.A middle-aged woman with a dog on a leash approaches along the sidewalk.

She is MRS. LIEBERMAN, the dog is a Scottie, and they are both wearing raincoats.Seeing them, Bud leans casually against the stoop.

MRS. LIEBERMAN

Good evening, Mr. Baxter.

BUD

Good evening, Mrs. Lieberman.

MRS. LIEBERMAN

Some weather we're having.Must be from all the meshugass at Cape Canaveral. (she is half-way up the steps) You locked out of your apartment?

BUD

No, no.Just waiting for a friend. Good night, Mrs. Lieberman.

MRS. LIEBERMAN

Good night, Mr. Baxter.

She and the Scottie disappear into the house.Bud resumes pacing, his eyes on the apartment windows.Suddenly he stops -- the lights have gone out.

INT. SECOND FLOOR LANDING - EVENING

Kirkeby, in coat and hat, stands in the open doorway of the darkened apartment.

KIRKEBY

Come on -- come on, Sylvia!

Sylvia comes cha cha-ing out, wearing an imitation Persian lamb coat, her hat askew on her head, bag, gloves, and an umbrella in her hand.

SYLVIA

Some setup you got here.A real, honest-to-goodness love nest.

KIRKEBY

Sssssh.

He locks the door, slips the key under the doormat.

SYLVIA

(still cha cha-ing)

You're one button off, Mr. Kirkeby.

She points to his exposed vest.Kirkeby looks down, sees that the buttons are out of line.He starts to rebutton them as they move down the narrow, dimly-lit stairs.

SYLVIA

You got to watch those things. Wives are getting smarter all the time.Take Mr. Bernheim -- in the Claims Department -- came home one night with lipstick on his shirt -- told his wife he had a shrimp cocktail for lunch -- so she took it out to the lab and had it analyzed -- so now she has the house in Great Neck and the children and the new Jaguar --

KIRKEBY

Don't you ever stop talking?

EXT. BROWNSTONE HOUSE - EVENING

Bud, standing on the sidewalk, sees the front door start to open.He moves quickly into the areaway, almost bumping into the ashcans, stands in the shadow of the stoop with his back turned discreetly toward Kirkeby and Sylvia as they come down the steps.

KIRKEBY

Where do you live?

SYLVIA

I told you -- with my mother.

KIRKEBY

Where does she live?

SYLVIA

A hundred and seventy-ninth street -- the Bronx.

KIRKEBY

All right -- I'll take you to the subway.

SYLVIA

Like hell you will.You'll buy me a cab.

KIRKEBY

Why do all you dames have to live in the Bronx?

SYLVIA

You mean you bring other girls up here?

KIRKEBY

Certainly not.I'm a happily married man.

They move down the street.Bud appears from the areaway, glances after them, then mounts the steps, goes through the front door.

INT. VESTIBULE - EVENING

There are eight mailboxes.Bud opens his, takes out a magazine in a paper wrapper and a few letters, proceeds up the staircase.

INT. SECOND FLOOR LANDING - EVENING

Bud, glancing through his mail, comes up to the door of his apartment.As he bends down to lift the doormat, the door of the rear apartment opens and MRS. DREYFUSS, a jovial well-fed middle-aged woman, puts out a receptacle full of old papers and empty cans.Bud looks around from his bent position.

BUD

Oh.Hello there, Mrs. Dreyfuss.

MRS. DREYFUSS

Something the matter?

BUD

I seem to have dropped my key. (faking a little search) Oh -- here it is.

He slides it out from under the mat, straightens up.

MRS. DREYFUSS

Such a racket I heard in your place -- maybe you had burglars.

BUD

Oh, you don't have to worry about that -- nothing in there that anybody would want to steal... (unlocking door quickly) Good night, Mrs. Dreyfuss.

He ducks into the apartment.

INT. THE APARTMENT - EVENING

Bud snaps on the lights, drops the mail and the key on a small table, looks around with distaste at the mess his visitors have left behind.He sniffs the stale air, crosses to the window, pulls up the shade, opens it wide.Now he takes off his hat and raincoat, gathers up the remains of the cocktail party from the coffee table.Loaded down with glasses, pitcher, empty vodka bottle, ice bowl and potato chips, he starts toward the kitchen.

The doorbell rings.Bud stops, undecided what to do with the stuff in his hands, then crosses to the hall door, barely manages to get it open.Mr. Kirkeby barges in past him.

KIRKEBY

The little lady forgot her galoshes.

He scours the room for the missing galoshes.

BUD

Mr. Kirkeby, I don't like to complain -- but you were supposed to be out of here by eight.

KIRKEBY

I know, Buddy-boy, I know.But those things don't always run on schedule -- like a Greyhound bus.

BUD

I don't mind in the summer -- but on a rainy night -- and I haven't had any dinner yet --

KIRKEBY

Sure, sure.Look, kid -- I put in a good word for you with Sheldrake, in Personnel.

BUD

(perking up)

Mr. Sheldrake?

KIRKEBY

That's right.We were discussing our department -- manpower-wise -- and promotion-wise -- (finds the galoshes behind a chair) -- and I told him what a bright boy you were.They're always on the lookout for young executives. BUD Thank you, Mr. Kirkeby.

KIRKEBY

(starting toward door)

You're on your way up, Buddy-boy. And you're practically out of liquor.

BUD

I know.Mr. Eichelberger -- in the Mortgage Loan Department -- last night he had a little Halloween party here --

KIRKEBY

Well, lay in some vodka and some vermouth -- and put my name on it.

BUD

Yes, Mr. Kirkeby.You still owe me for the last two bottles --

KIRKEBY

I'll pay you on Friday. (in the open doorwaY) And whatever happened to those little cheese crackers you used to have around?

He exits, shutting the door.

BUD

(making a mental note)

Cheese crackers.

He carries his load into the kitchen.

The kitchen is minute and cluttered.On the drainboard are an empty vermouth bottle, some ice-cube trays, a jar with one olive in it, and a crumpled potato-chip bag.

Bud comes in, dumps his load on the drainboard, opens the old-fashioned refrigerator.He takes out a frozen chicken dinner, turns the oven on, lights it with a match, rips the protective paper off the aluminum tray and shoves it in.

Now he starts to clean up the mess on the drainboard.He rinses the cocktail glasses, is about to empty the martini pitcher into the sink, thinks better of it.He pours the contents into a glass, plops the lone olive out of the jar, scoops up the last handful of potato chips, toasts an imaginary companion, and drinks up.Then he pulls a wastebasket from under the sink.

It is brimful of liquor bottles, and Bud adds the empty vodka and vermouth bottles and the olive jar.Picking up the heavy receptacle, he carries it through the living room toward the hall door.

INT. SECOND FLOOR LANDING - EVENING

The door of Bud's apartment opens, and Bud comes out with the wastebasket full of empty bottles.Just then, DR. DAVID DREYFUSS, whose wife we met earlier, comes trudging up the stairs.He is a tall, heavy-set man of fifty, with a bushy mustache, wearing a bulky overcoat and carrying an aged medical bag.

DR. DREYFUSS

Good evening, Baxter.

BUD

Hi, Doc.Had a late call?

DR. DREYFUSS

Yeah.Some clown at Schrafft's 57th Street ate a club sandwich, and forgot to take out the toothpick.

BUD

Oh. (sets down wastebasket) 'Bye, Doc.

DR. DREYFUSS

(indicating bottles)

Say, Baxter -- the way you're belting that stuff, you must have a pair of cast-iron kidneys.

BUD

Oh, that's not me.It's just that once in a while, I have some people in for a drink.

DR. DREYFUSS

As a matter of fact, you must be an iron man all around. From what I hear through the walls, you got something going for you every night.

BUD

I'm sorry if it gets noisy --

DR. DREYFUSS

Sometimes,there's a twi-night double-header. (shaking his head) A nebbish like you!

BUD

(uncomfortable)

Yeah.Well -- see you, Doc. (starts to back through door)

DR. DREYFUSS

You know, Baxter -- I'm doing some research at the Columbia Medical Center -- and I wonder if you could do us a favor?

BUD

Me?

DR. DREYFUSS

When you make out your will -- and the way you're going, you should -- would you mind leaving your body to the University?

BUD

My body?I'm afraid you guys would be disappointed.Good night, Doc.

DR. DREYFUSS

Slow down, kid.

He starts into the rear apartment as Bud closes the door.

INT. THE APARTMENT - EVENING

Bud, loosening his tie, goes into the kitchen, opens the oven, turns off the gas.He takes a coke out of the refrigerator, uncaps it, gets a knife and fork from a drawer, and using his handkerchief as a potholder, pulls the hot aluminum tray out of the oven.He carries everything out into the living room.

In the living room, Bud sets his dinner down on the coffee table, settles himself on the couch.He rears up as something stabs him, reaches under his buttocks, pulls out a hairpin.He drops it into an ashtray, tackles his dinner. Without even looking, he reaches over to the end table and presses the remote TV station-selector.He takes a sip from the coke bottle, his eyes on the TV screen across the room.

The picture on the TV set jells quickly.Against a background of crisscrossing searchlights, a pompous announcer is making his spiel.

ANNOUNCER

-- from the world's greatest library of film classics, we proudly present -- (fanfare) Greta Garbo -- John Barrymore -- Joan Crawford -- Wallace Beery -- and Lionel Barrymore in -- (fanfare) GRAND HOTEL!

There is an extended fanfare.Bud leans forward, chewing excitedly on a chicken leg.

ANNOUNCER

But first, a word from our sponsor. If you smoke the modern way, don't be fooled by phony filter claims --

Bud, still eating, automatically reaches for the station- selector, pushes the button.

A new channel pops on.It features a Western -- Cockamamie Indians are attacking a stagecoach.

That's not for Bud.He switches to another station.In a frontier saloon, Gower Street cowboys are dismantling the furniture and each other.

Bud wearily changes channels.But he can't get away from Westerns -- on this station, the U.S. Cavalry is riding to the rescue.Will they get there in time?

Bud doesn't wait to find out.He switches channels again, and is back where he started.

On the screen, once more, is the announcer standing in front of the crisscrossing searchlights.

ANNOUNCER

And now, Grand Hotel -- starring Greta Garbo, John Barrymore, Joan Crawford -- (Bud is all eyes and ears again) -- Wallace Beery, and Lionel Barrymore.But first -- a word from our alternate sponsor. (unctuously) Friends, do you have wobbly dentures -- ?

That does it.Bud turns the set off in disgust.

The TV screen blacks out, except for a small pinpoint of light in the center, which gradually fades away.

In the bathroom, Bud, in pajamas by now, is brushing his teeth.From the shower rod hang three pairs of socks on stretchers.Bud takes a vial from the medicine shelf, shakes out a sleeping pill, washes it down with a glass of water.He turns the light off, walks into the bedroom.

In the bedroom, the single bed is made, and the lamp on the night table is on.Bud plugs in the electric blanket, turns the dial on.Then he climbs into bed, props up the pillow behind him.From the night table, he picks up the magazine that arrived in the mail, slides it out of the wrapper, opens it.It's the new issue of PLAYBOY.Bud leafs through it till he comes to the piece de resistance of the magazine. He unfolds the overleaf, glances at it casually, refolds it, then turns to the back of the magazine and starts to read.

What he is so avidly interested in is the men's fashion section.There is a layout titled WHAT THE YOUNG EXECUTIVE WILL WEAR with a sub-head reading The Bowler is Back. Illustrating the article are several photographs of male models wearing various styles of bowlers.

Bud is definitely in the market for a bowler, but somehow his mind starts wandering.He turns back to the overleaf again, unfolds it, studies it, then holds the magazine up vertically to get a different perspective on the subject. By now the sleeping pill is beginning to take effect, and he yawns.He drops the magazine on the floor, kills the light, settles down to sleep.The room is dark except for the glow from the dial of the electric blanket.

Three seconds.Then the phone jangles shrilly in the living room.Bud stumbles groggily out of bed, and putting on his slippers, makes his way into the living room.He switches on the light, picks up the phone.

BUD

Hello? -- Hello? -- yes, this is Baxter.

INT. PHONE BOOTH IN A MANHATTAN BAR - NIGHT

On the night is a hearty man of about forty-five, nothing gut personality, most of it obnoxious.His name is DOBISCH.

Outside the booth is a blonde babe, slightly boozed, and beyond there is a suggestion of the packed, smoky joint.

DOBISCH

Hiya, Buddy-boy.I'm in this bar on Sixty-first Street -- and I got to thinking about you -- and I figured I'd give you a little buzz.

BUD - ON PHONE

BUD

Well, that's very nice of you -- but who is this?

INT. PHONE BOOTH

DOBISCH

Dobisch -- Joe Dobisch, in Administration.

BUD - ON PHONE

BUD

(snapping to attention)

Oh, yes, Mr. Dobisch.I didn't recognize your voice --

INT. PHONE BOOTH

DOBISCH

That's okay, Buddy-boy.Now like I was saying, I'm in this joint on Sixty-first -- and I think I got lucky -- (glances toward blonde) -- she's a skater with the Ice Show -- (he chuckles) -- and I thought maybe I could bring her up for a quiet drink.

BUD - ON PHONE

BUD

I'm sorry, Mr. Dobisch.You know I like to help you guys out -- but it's sort of late -- so why don't we make it some other time?

INT. PHONE BOOTH

DOBISCH

Buddy-boy -- she won't keep that long -- not even on ice.Listen, kid, I can't pass this up -- she looks like Marilyn Monroe.